Barreca & La Varra - A villa and its garden, characterized by visual and spatial continuity
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A villa and its garden, characterized by visual and spatial continuity

Barreca & La Varra

Villa  /  Completed
Barreca & La Varra

The project grew out of a close dialogue, both with the clients and with the exceptional context in which it is set. The hidden location in the heart of the city suggested that the architecture should dialogue with the privileged overlook it enjoys, a garden of over 400 square meters with a certain difference in height. Visual and spatial continuity, symbiosis between interior and exterior, and elegant and careful minimalism in the choice of materials - with a few measured exceptions - are the cardinal principles that guided all design choices.

Access to the villa is from the condominium garden, which through a gateway covered in dark gray porcelain stoneware slabs leads to the private garden. The yard is divided into a "vegetal" part with a water basin and pre-existing trees at a raised level, and a more "mineral" paved area which represents the outdoor living room, that continues inside the ground floor of the villa. The elevation of the villa, made of victory green serpentine marble, is presented as a screen, an interactive device that can be modified to open completely to the private outdoor space, or to close via a system of dark gray roller blinds, depending on the needs. Similar materials were chosen for the garden, the facade and the interior of the villa, in order to give a homogeneous image to the whole project.

The design organizes the rooms of the house on three floors: the living area on the ground floor, the sleeping area on the upper floor, and service rooms in the basement. On the ground floor, a large openspace room opens the kitchen, living room, dining room and a guest bathroom to the outdoor space. Stairs lead to the upper floor, where a corridor distributes two single bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, and the master bedroom equipped with a walk-in closet and two separate bathrooms. The staircase also leads to the basement where there are utilities, laundry, and covered outdoor parking spaces. The design features fine materials but restrained tones. The only purely decorative elements are found in the bathrooms: floral wallpapers in the guest bathrooms, pop art-themed tiles in the children's bathrooms, and black ceramics with gold patterns in the master. The staircase is a channel for natural light, and niches carved into the stoneware-clad wall accommodate artwork. The furnishings are all custom-designed by Barreca & La Varra: from the wood plank paneling in the living room, to the furnishings in the bedrooms, to the two kitchens. The house is equipped with an integrated home automation system and photovoltaic panels on the roof. The new garden layout maintains the original footprint and shape with a side entrance, along the boundary wall, leading from the entrance level to the lower level, where the entrance to the villa is located.

"It is a bright, crisp, flawless project, simple and complex at the same time, a marble casket, looking toward the geometric green space that determines it. Surprising is the controlled but powerful chromaticism toward the small park and the minimalist choice toward the interior, which always has a powerful dialectical relationship with the green, from which it takes energy, and transfers it toward the anthropological cavea, the "house" as ideality, the house as identity." Maurizio De Caro


 Private client
 530 mq
 Barreca e La Varra
 Giulia Sorrentino, Margherita Napoletani, Luigi Tambuscio, Andi Driza
 Confidential information
 Confidential information
 Carola Merello


The architectural firm Barreca & La Varra was founded in 2008 in Milan by Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra. Over the years the firm has gained national and international prominence with the realization of numerous interventions in the field of urban and architectural design, through participation in competitions and carrying out public and private commissions for important Italian and foreign groups. Headquarters of major companies, residential and social housing complexes, as well as collective buildings such as hospitals and schools, have won recognition in Italy and abroad. The firm is characterized by constant attention to the experimentation of a complex architectural and urban language, attentive to the changing articulations of contemporary society and to the complexity of the economic, social and institutional processes that today produce the city, the territory and the environment, with particular attention to the relationship between architecture and nature.

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